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Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Path: sparky!uunet!!jeffrey
From: (Jeffrey Kegler)
Subject: What is LPF position on AT&T v. BSDI?
Reply-To: (Jeffrey Kegler)
Organization: Algorists, Inc.
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 92 02:00:23 GMT
Message-ID: <>
Lines: 48

The AT&T suit against BSDI has (as might be expected) generated
considerable discussion on comp.unix.bsd.  A lot of alternatives have
been tossed back and forth.  I have just posted the suggestion that
all concerned show their concern by joining the League for Programming

I am somewhat handicapped here in that, while a proud member of the
LPF, I to no degree speak for it.  I assume that as we speak it is
studying the suit and will come out with a position.

Specific questions:

1) I assume the LPF has no opinion on the matter of the status of the
trademark on the term "UNIX".  Is this right?

2) I assume the LPF has no opinion on the matter of whether BSDI can
use 800-ITS-UNIX as its phone number.  Is this right?

3) From reading the legal docs, AT&T, while not alleging any trade
secret, copyright or patent rights in BSDI's software, leaves open the
possibility of expanding the suit to allege such.  I assume that if
they "clarify" their position to indicate they do not intend to assert
such rights, instead restricting themselves to trademark and false
advertizing issues, untainted by other intellectual property issues, LPF
will take no position on the matter of AT&T v. BSDI.  Is that correct?

As I read the legal docs, they are a bit strange.  AT&T, as I said
above, does not allege any property rights in the software, but
demands the court grant it injunctive relief for such rights anyway.
(You really have to download the originals and read them yourself to
believe it, I think.)

The AT&T argument goes like this:

1)  You (BSDI) claim you are distributing UNIX.
2)  This is false, so you must stop claiming it.
3)  And, since you are distributing UNIX, you must license it from us.

I think the lawyers call this arguing in the alternative.  One argues
two mutually exclusive points of view, under both of which your client
prevails.  That way, whatever the court decides, you win.

If only we could program computers in the alternative!

Jeffrey Kegler, Independent UNIX Consultant, Algorists, Inc.
jeff...@algor2.ALGORISTS.COM or uunet!algor2!jeffrey
137 E Fremont AVE #122, Sunnyvale CA 94087

Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!!unido!adagio!grog
From: g...@adagio.UUCP (Greg Lehey)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: Re: What is LPF position on AT&T v. BSDI?
Message-ID: <1837@adagio.UUCP>
Date: 26 Jul 92 14:05:03 GMT
References: <>
Organization: LEMIS, Schellnhausen 2, W-6324 Feldatal, Germany
Lines: 27

In article <> (Jeffrey Kegler) writes:
>Specific questions:
>2) I assume the LPF has no opinion on the matter of whether BSDI can
>use 800-ITS-UNIX as its phone number.  Is this right?

This is a dead issue. BSDI agreed back in April to stop using this

I can't speak for the LPF either (I've been meaning to join for I
don't know how long, but haven't got round to it yet, though this
business is going to speed things up), but I tend to agree that it's
not LPF's charter to take sides in battles between commercial
companies. A side effect of this dispute, however, is much more
sinister: AT&T claims that, if you have been exposed to UNIX source
code, you can't develop any related product which is not in some way
UNIX-tainted and thus requires a UNIX license. This is effectively a
career-limiting action. Since nearly every computer science student
has been exposed to UNIX sources in some form, the effect of a
precedent here could be monumental, and would definitely stand in no
relationship to the real importance of the code.

Greg Lehey                       | Tel: +49-6637-1488              
LEMIS                            | Fax: +49-6637-1489
Schellnhausen 2, W-6324 Feldatal, Germany
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